The End of Country by Seamus McGraw: A Great Fracking Read!

You may already know what fracking is, but The End of Country (Random House) deftly illuminates the way it is done. Set in a small town in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, where gas drillers have come a knockin’ along with grand promises and grave pitfalls, author Seamus McGraw recounts how fracking has turned his mother’s quiet rural community, and his family legacy, inside out.

With wry wit and absolute candor, McGraw strikes the perfect balance between informing the reader about the complexities of a natural gas boom, and presenting a compelling memoir with a kooky yet genuine cast of characters. We are treated to a respectful, detailed glimpse into their private, inexorable attachment to the land, one which transcends practicality to become something more metaphysical, even as it’s being blasted apart a mile beneath their feet.

The End of Country is by turns entirely personal and surprisingly universal. It’s rich with high-quality, impartial information on the history of natural gas extraction, and the more recent and monumental discovery of hydraulic fracturing, yet McGraw’s tone remains light enough to make this a breezy beach read. It’s one of those rare, wonderful memoirs that you can’t put down. It makes your head a little smarter and leaves your heart a little wiser. If you download only one book this summer, this should be it!

McGraw’s award-winning work has appeared in Playboy, Reader’s Digest, Penthouse, Radar, Spin and The Forward.

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